What follows are brief introductions to the top leaders of independently owned wine companies from the Business Journal's Independently Owned Wineries list, published in March, and the Wine Companies list, published in this issue.
Also included in this feature are some significant players in North Coast wine business who have acquired wineries that were on the lists. Two examples are Foley Family Wines, which acquired Sebastiani Vineyards of Sonoma, and Sonoma Wine Co., which purchased Cartlidge & Brown of American Canyon.
The following are sorted alphabetically by winery name.
Founder and estate winemaker
Benziger Family Winery, 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen 95442, 888-490-2739, www.benziger.com
Mike Benziger is co-founder and estate winemaker of a winery that has been a leader in Biodynamic farming and environmentally friendly winegrowing since 1980. That's when he purchased the family ranch on the eastern side of Sonoma Mountain. He has been overseeing the scaling back of the business from high volume to high quality.
Peter Mondavi Jr. and Marc Mondavi
C. Mondavi & Sons, 2800 Main St., St. Helena 94574, 707-967-2200, www.charleskrug.com
Marc and Peter Jr. Mondavi oversee Napa Valley's oldest winery, started by Charles Krug in 1861 and acquired by their grandparents Cesare and Rosa Mondavi in 1943. At 1.3 million cases produced last year, the winery is among one of the North Coast's largest producers. Brands are mass-market-oriented CK Mondavi and Charles Krug, which is being positioned toward the higher end of the market.
Born in 1954, Marc Mondavi started working at the winery at age 10 and returned after college in 1978.
Peter Mondavi Jr., born in 1958, has graduate engineering training and has been heavily involved in the nine-year vineyard and facility capital project. The $44.5 million project involved replanting 405 of the 850 acres of vines, upgrading the winery to produce both main brands and renovating the carriage house and cellar Mr. Krug constructed.
President and chief operating officer
Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, 10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg 95448, 707-838-4306, www.chalkhill.com
When Peggy Furth last August announced her new position as chief executive officer of the winery attorney and co-chairman Fred Furth started in 1972, she promoted Ken Born to president and chief operating officer. Mr. Born had been managing the Furth finances, including the winery, for 12 years.
Winemaker and chief operating officer
Clos Du Val, 5330 Silverado Trail, Napa 94558, 707-261-5200, www.closduval.com
John Clews is in charge of vineyard and winemaking for the winery John Goelet and Bernard Portet started in 1972, in time to participate in the famed 1976 Paris tasting. The winery is one of five wine operations the Goelet family owns in the U.S., Australia and France.
Mr. Clews came to the winery in April 1999 after serving as general manager and chief enologist for Steele Wines in Lake County and wine production stints at Newton Vineyard in Napa Valley and Preston Vineyards in Sonoma County. A career in accountancy in London in the 1970s shifted for the Rhodesian native to winemaking after attending college in South Africa.